Black Friday woes: Making a holiday without thanks

Nov. 17, 2014

Celeste Burnham
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Employees have their holiday time with family cut shorter and shorter each year. Those employed at various retailers and department stores are scheduled to report earlier each year to open for Black Friday, or for some Black Thursday.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday. Post offices are closed, grocery stores used to be closed and the streets would be bare except for people driving to see their families.

Nobody used to go shopping on Thanksgiving. It used to be hard to find a store that was open in order to get the sugar that we forgot to pick up. Now it is becoming more common for grocery stores, even some retailers, to be open on Thanksgiving Day.

This year K-Mart is opening its doors and starting their Black Friday deals at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Those employees don’t get a holiday. They don’t get a day off. They might get a few hours for their Thanksgiving dinner before having to report back.

To combat these horrendous hours, states such as Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts created a law that says stores have to stay closed until midnight.

Black Friday is taking over the meaning of Thanksgiving.

It is no longer a holiday to show gratitude and thankfulness for all that we have and all that we are privileged with because that same day, or less than 24 hours later, we are rushing out for early bird specials to swipe our credit cards one too many times for things we might not even need.

The Thanksgiving feast is no longer centered on when the turkey is done but rather on the needs of employees who have to report to their shifts. All that so people can become obsessive over marked down prices that inevitably create violence and tension among crowds. Instead of focusing on loving others and being grateful, people are willing to fight for the last flat screen TV, the newest iPhone that is half off or the special edition Kitchen- Aid stainless steel mixer.

The potential of violence that comes with Black Friday makes me want to stay in my house longer and not face the crowds. I don’t care how great the deals are. It doesn’t seem worth it to deal with shoppers who are only focused on what they want and are willing to do just about anything to get it.

The meaning of the holidays is being lost.

I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving because I feel awful for the employee behind the counter that isn’t getting to enjoy the holiday. I don’t want to be a person that fuels retailers into thinking they need to open earlier and earlier.

I don’t want to be caught up in lines, wasting time I could be spending with my family and friends, to create a higher demand for materialistic goods on a holiday.

I want to challenge myself and others to be thankful for what we do have.